Sawatdii Postitive Arsenal fans,
Well that was quite an evening wasn’t it ? The ffffuuuullll range of fan experience over exactly 96 minutes, from mild discomfort, to eye rolling pain, abject horror, to fluttering but faint hope, and capped by monstrous relief at a finale in which we gained a point and retrieved our reputation as a tough team to beat. Exhausting.
Of the game itself I find myself struggling to order my thoughts even twelve hours later. In spite of what I have heard from AW we actually started the game, for the opening five minutes, really well and pinged the ball about in the Cherries’ half with them barely able to touch it.
Thereafter, and not surprisingly with the home side so willing to run and fight for the ball, the pendulum swung to even the contest, with possession shared with the home side and both teams on the front foot. It was a very fast game in the sense that players had very little time to dwell on the ball and both sides moved it quickly from end to end.
Then came the Bournemouth opener ! Not exactly out of the blue but the manner in which Hector was undone was slightly embarrassing, most uncharacteristic for the player. Whether he was a) tired b) unwell/unfit or c) he, Mustafi and Ramsey were on totally different pages of the defensive playbook at the time or d) a combination of a)+b)+c) I don’t know. Nice finish by Daniels nevertheless.
Like me I am sure you thought “no bother”, a goal down, a mere blip on the road to final victory. You could sense however we were a little stunned by the setback. Players looking a one another, shouting, shrugging, pointing. Not a good picture as the home crowd roared their approval of our obvious discomfort.
Then we had a bit of a second “cock-up”, to use the technical sporting term, with an attack broken down, Le Coq’s professional foul ignored/waived on by Oliver and Xhaka clumping Fraser. The evening took on a darker hue. I pondered whether my singling out of Granit and Bellerin for their good contribution against Palace had cursed them this evening ! Its all about me – dyasee!
After that second goal the dissent among Arsenal players rose to fever pitch, Sanchez was shouting at everyone, Ramsey shouted at Alexis, Larry was waving like a windmill in frustration, everyone was shouting at Iwobi, Mustafi was shouting at Hector, Hector was sheepish and staring off into space et cetera. This was not “pashun” this was just bloody unprofessional.
The outcome of this abominable mass toddler tantrum was that for the remainder of the first half we played very little football, passes went astray, our use of the dead ball was excruciating and we looked at no time like testing Boruc with an actual “shot” or a “header”.
The THIRD GOAL for the home side was an event of such exquisite torture I have no words to describe it – I shall move on.
And yet the third goal, finally, managed raise something in us. Was it pride ? Suddenly the spaces we could play in got a little wider, the passes were clipped a little quicker to feet. The Ox’s suddenly seemed to have the measure of Fraser and Perez’s introduction gave out attach a sharpness in contrast to the earlier dull thud. Did our opponents foolishly switch off thinking the job done ? Did our opponents themselves run out of energy having torn into us throughout the contest ?
I dunno – From the 70th minute and that first goal however I was certain we would get something out of the game and so it proved. The petulance among the players was replaced by smooth passing and movement, that second goal from Perez was a superb strike. Arsenal football team were back inaction, not 11 individuals, each with his own agenda. And that man Larry ……… probably his scruffiest goal in a long time but my goodness did it raise my spirits. The job was done, the point gathered. A draw snatched in unlikely circumstances against difficult opponents. Not exactly the result we wanted, and perhaps needed, but a lesson learned by the players.
I shall leave it there – enjoy your lengthy break until Proud Preston.